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Three Common Misconceptions About the National Court Reporter Shortage

Recent studies were done that caught the eye of CourtScribes regarding a likely court reporter shortage. The study found that the gap between the number of available stenographers and the demand for their services nationwide continues to increase year over year. This is no surprise as we have reported on this many times.

This problem has been consistent for seven years now and the shortage is impossible to ignore. This is a reality that the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t even mask.

No firm has been immune to the impact of this court reporter shortage, especially firms located in the most litigious states like California, New York, Illinois, Texas and Florida. However, there are plenty of misconceptions about the national court reporter shortage.

Interestingly enough, some believe that there is no shortage at all despite all the evidence. There are some misconceptions about what is going on in the industry.

Misconception #1: Can’t we just train more stenographers?

This is easier said than done, especially when statistical data proves that such a proposition is near impossible.

Why is this happening? It was found that 70% of stenographers were over the age of 46. As the current population of stenographers continues to progress towards retirement, there are not enough new stenographers from younger generations entering the field to help close the gap.

Misconception #2: The shortage won’t affect us.

While you might think that only the “big” litigation states will be impacted by this shortage, each state will face the devastating lack of court reporters sooner than later.

As of 2019, 82,000 new students enrolled in court reporting training programs nationwide each year to overcome the deficit. This dropped dramatically in 2019 where there were only about 2,500 new enrollments. Now imagine that the average graduation rate is 10% and you’re talking about a maximum of only 125 new court reporters into the market.

You can see how the shortage is affecting all of the states. Combine this with our new remote work environments brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and there are even fewer court reporters available.


Misconception #3: There are no alternatives to stenography to combat the shortage.

While stenography is the gold standard for capturing a verbatim record of a proceeding, there are other court reporting methodologies available that are both accurate and flexible and provide the same finished product.

Voice writing offers an alternative to stenographers. A voice writer speaks into a steno mask, capturing a verbatim record of the proceeding, while speech-recognition technology converts the recorded audio into text.

Digital reporting is another court reporting method that has gained more widespread adoption in recent years. In fact, courthouses and law firms across the US have been successfully using digital reporting for years as their sole means of recording hearings and trials.

As the supply of available court reporters continues to widen each year, it’s becoming increasingly more important for legal professionals to understand and recognize the potential implications for their practice. While stenography will always remain the gold standard, there are additional court reporting methodologies that offer accurate, affordable and flexible solutions.

If you need court reporting services (with a little more experience than Lumsden) that handle digital recoding then which supports all states and programs that aid in the court reporting world are ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes’ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.